A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.
This White Hot Stamper side one is OUT OF THIS WORLD — the new KING for this album! We played a huge number of pressings — Pink Labels, United Artists originals and reissues — and this side one was completely UNMATCHED. What put it in a league of its own? BIG ENERGY for one thing. Side one of this copy was jumping out of the speakers in a way that took us completely by surprise. We had a dozen clean copies, that’s 24 sides, and this was the only one that showed us just how lively and clear that side one master tape must be.
What to Listen For – Side One
We learned something new this time around, and we learned it by simply playing an amazingly transparent copy that made it clear — for the first time — exactly what Winwood was doing on the piano with his left hand. There are two musical figures that alternate: one, involving the lower notes, which tend to be blurry, obscured and murky on most pressings, followed by two, the right-handed higher notes, which are usually much more clear and audible in the mix.
Out of the twelve copies we played no other copy let us “see” the bass notes of the piano so clearly and correctly. Next time you want to compare different pressings of Barleycorn, pay special attention to the lower notes of the piano on Glad. It is our contention, backed by mountains of evidence of course, that no two copies of the album will get that piano sound the same.
Flute and Snare
The resolving power of this side one is off the charts. The flute (a major element of the music if you know the album well) is airier than ever before. Chris Wood’s sax, which is all over the record, and beautifully recorded I might add, sounds amazing as well, with more body and harmonic texture than we heard on practically any other copy. Note how little processing there is to the sound of his horns and woodwinds; how real they sound. This is unusual to say the least in the world of pop records.
The snare drum sound is powerful, with a good meaty thwack that really drives the music. (more…)